Reflection: Jesus is hanging on a wooden cross; red fire is consuming his wrist and ankles, a nail each through his wrists and one through both his ankles. His entire body weight is supported by those nails, which are more like metal stakes. Add to this, Jesus’ last moments on earth are filled with vitriol and hate. From Jesus’ left and right rebels heap insults upon him. And then there’s the steady stream of passers-by. Stranger after stranger, the wash of humanity insulting the Lord of Life as he dies on
their behalf. The chief priests, teachers of the law and elders are there delighting in their crime.
But it is love, not nails, that is keeping Jesus there on the cross. If Jesus were to step down from that cross there would be no ‘blood of the covenant for the forgiveness of sins’ (Matthew 26:26–29), no ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), no salvation from sin (Matthew 1:21), no fulfilment of Scripture, and no gospel of the kingdom to be proclaimed to nations everywhere (Matthew 28:18–20).
Peter, forgiven and fearless, would not later be able to say, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24). Neither would Paul be able to say, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13, ESV).
Jesus did not step down. It was love, not nails that kept him there.
Question: As you consider Jesus on the cross, ask yourself: have you accepted him into your heart as your Lord and Saviour? Is he your King? Do you believe in what he did on that cross for you? Is your life lived in honour of him?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you that you chose the cross, for us. Thank you that you endured the agony, providing a ransom for many,
salvation from sin, and the fulfilment of God’s promises. Thank you that through what you have done, there is good news of salvation to be proclaimed to the nations. Strengthen me to love, honour and serve you as I should. Amen.
We are reading the Bible with Paul White until 7th April.